CTOTW #10: Dream big, believe in (but do not trust) yourself

This is the tenth (and last) post of COTW (Coach Tip of the Week) series. If you want to access previous tips, you can get the full list here.

dreamThis is the last Coach Tip of the Week. The initial idea of this series was to provide general advices for training. It was definitively focused on running. The last tip is not totally dedicated to fitness and running and is rather a general advice. There is this old saying: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars” and I will definitively recommend to shoot for the moon. Put difficult goals and objectives, try to do the impossible. If you do not succeed, celebrate failures, learn from it and try again. By setting important and big goals, you will challenge yourself, go out of your comfort zone and experience the unknown.

Finally, believe in yourself: whatever the goal, until you try, you never know the outcome. Trying and doing your best does not cost anything. The only risk is to succeed. So, big dream, hope for the best. It sounds really basic, but derailing is so easy, there are so many distractions that will put you away from your objectives that you need to stay focused on your goals. Once you decide what you want and what are your priorities, success mostly depends on you.

However, do not trust yourself avoid to be over confident: always wonder if you are on the appropriate path to succeed, if you are doing everything to reach your goal. There will be always people better and more knowledgeable than you and they are not here to fight but help you. Learn from them, adapt your training, learn from books, online resources and discussion with other people. The running community is a fantastic resources with many people ready to help and give advices.

CTOTW #10: Dream big, believe in (but do not trust) yourself

CTOTW #9: Embrace Failure

This is the ninth post of COTW (Coach Tip of the Week). If you want to access previous tips, you can get the full list here.

“You are a failure. You failed.” How much time do we heard this negative comments about ourselves? This world is primary driven by competition and a binary (good or bad) measure of our acts. This way is thinking is very restrictive and reactive: something is either positive or negative. The goal of this CTOTW is to remind you to embrace failure (i.e. when you did not reach your goals), to study it, learn from it in order to achieve them later (what people used to consider as success)

failWhen you have a bad race, a bad day, learn from it. Try to analyze what happened and why it did not match the scenario you was looking for. Your speed was not consistent and you do not know why? Analyze your splits, nutrition and hydration! You was tired during the race? How much did you sleep the week prior to the race? This is by analyzing our failures that we can transform future experiences into success.

We tend to put the responsibility on somebody else. Keep others accountable and responsible for missing our own problems. Most of the time, the problem is not the others but yourself. For sure, sometimes, an external event ruins our day (for example, if a guy pushed you on a trail and you tripped) and there is nothing we can do about that. But most of the time, we are the solely responsible for our own failure (for example: I was tired because I somebody invited me to a party last night and I did not sleep enough before race day). Do not deny it, embrace it again and learn from it to make you better. We are humans after all, learning creatures, this is by learning that we eventually meet our goals and pursue our dreams.

Know who you are, what are your limits, your goals and set your priorities accordingly. Stop lying to yourself and when you missed your target, do not blame others for your own failure. Take your responsibilities: learn from this experience so that it does not happen again. If it happen again later, it might mean that either the goals or priorities are not the one you really want. In that case, this might be time to reconsider them.

CTOTW #9: Embrace Failure

CTOTW #8: Watch your weekly mileage

This is the eight post of COTW (Coach Tip of the Week). If you want to access previous tips, you can get the full list here.

Today, we have not one tip but two (lucky readers!): about how much to increase your weekly mileage and what weekly distance you should do before a race. When it comes to increase your mileage, stick to the 10% rule by increasing your weekly mileage by 10% at max. Failure to do so (increasing too much) will then result in injury, intense fatigue and potentially stop running. In addition, do not add too many days from one week to another. Try to observe a regular training schedule (for example, from 3 to 4 days a week). If you want to add a day, please do so but try to balance the mileage in order to avoid potential injury. This rule has been discussed in a lot of forums, some people disagree, other proposed another method but so far, it seems to be the one that works!

 

Yup, overtraining sucks!
Yup, overtraining sucks!

 

There is also a lot of debate about the weekly distance you should be running during a race. I am terrible in training plans and never followed one. It is too boring and I always felt that a training plan forces me to do a particular efforts whereas to me, running is a fantastic method to refresh my mind and get away for any constraint. However, there is a rule I always observed regarding the weekly mileage: try to be comfortable running slightly more the race distance during few weeks. For example, if I you plan to run a marathon, logging 30 miles a week for a few weeks is probably a good strategy. If you plan to run a 50miles, having several weeks with 60+ is a good idea. The main reason is a big part of running is mental: by making more than the distance within a week and having rested appropriately, you know you can do it. Another reason is by running the distance several times, your body is still used to the efforts and exertion of such an effort and would then be ready for the physical part of your endeavor.

Finally, monitoring your weekly mileage is very easy and can be done automatically using your smartphone an an app such as mapmyrun , a GPS watch. So, there is no reason for not doing it!

CTOTW #8: Watch your weekly mileage

CTOTW #7: don’t believe the hype

This is the seventh post of COTW (Coach Tip of the Week). If you want to access previous tips, you can get the full list here.

believehype

Many folks think the last apparel or shoes will increase your performance. Bullsh1t: Do not believe the hype.

Running, exercising is a matter of dedication, it is spiritual and physical commitment. It does not depend on the color of your shirt, the brand of your shoes, the jacket you wear or the size of your wallet. We are all equal in this sport: we all start from the same point and have to cross the same finish line. What happens in between depends (mostly) on you and you only and there is nothing that can change this fact.

You might be tempted to buy all the new trendy stuff, thinking it will make you better and improve your performance. Just be honest, it will not make you better, it will make you feel, which is a big difference. You probably want the new trendy stuff but you do not actually need it. And actually, many runners carry too many accessories but do not need it at all.

You are all set for your first 5K!
You are all set for your first 5K!

Just focus on the basic: all what you need is a good pair of shoe that fits you (and stick to it!), a comfortable short or pant, a tee-shirt and a handled bottle in case you are going very far. You can consider gloves and other light additional gear in case of extreme weather but not so much. Nothing else, the rest is superficial.

  1. Stop thinking the new fancy gear/shoe/whatever will make you a better runner. It will just make you feel better
  2. Instead of focusing on your gear and accessories, focus on your training
  3. Do not use too many accessories, it adds weight, potential discomfort and will ruin your bank account. Keep the money for a hotel room when going to a race

Let me finish this CTOTW with a funny story. Three years from now: when I was working in The Netherlands, my weekly highlight was a trip to Amsterdam¬† to look if a new issue of Runner’s World was available. Once, there was a review of the Newton shoes and, after reading it, I was really excited and definitively wanted to try them as soon as possible. I thought I would solve all my issues and will make me a stronger, faster runner. Unfortunately, at that time, Newton was not available in the Netherlands and I was not a so serious runner to order them online (plus, delivery there was really expensive). So, when coming in the USA, the first pair of shoes I bought was the Newton. I was so happy that I go for a run the very same day. After one week, I started to experience pain in my knee and kept going. I eventually switched to another shoe but keep thinking the Newton was the best shoe (hey, Runner’s World recommended them dude!) so it must be true! I kept using it until I got injured. Back then I started to use Hoka and never got injured. The take-away: do not believe the hype, stick to the basics, try different things and just keep what works for you, regardless its price, color, size or shape.

 

CTOTW #7: don’t believe the hype

CTOTW #6: break, then repair

This is the sixth post of COTW (Coach Tip of the Week). If you want to access previous tips, you can get the full list here.

You do not develop your body by training and exhausting it. In fact, when you are doing a intense physical activity, you are damaging your muscles, bones and other parts of your body. This is why over-exercising will lead you to injury. In fact, this is by resting and adopting a healthy diet with the appropriate nutrients that your body will recover, rebuilt the broken parts and make them stronger.

overtrain
Overtraining might not be the best strategy

For that reason, if you want to increase your strength or endurance, you should rest a lot and adopt a healthy diet.

  1. Do not work on the same muscle group two days in a row
  2. In case you are running every day, vary your workout (for example, one day with hills repeat, another day with a tempo run that focuses on cardio)
  3. Always put a lean protein (chicken, non-fat greek yogurt, tofu, turkey, egg) in your meal to ensure good recovery
  4. Adopt a consistent sleep patterns by going to bed at the same time every day
  5. Do not overeat at night in order to ensure a good sleep quality
  6. If you experience pain, avoid to train hard in this, go easy and let it recover for a few days

References

CTOTW #6: break, then repair

CTOTW #5: if you cannot run, just walk

This is the fifth post of COTW (Coach Tip of the Week). If you want to access previous tips, you can get the full list here.

Running all the time is sometimes difficult mentally and physically. At some point, you reach a state when you need a break. Some folks in the runner community say you have to keep pushing, even if it hurts. Bullsh1t!

Running should be a something you like, a way to get away from the stress of our busy life, a way to reconnect with our body. Not a torture, something we want to quit right away to come back as soon as possible in front of a screen. Continue to run is painful? Then, walk, take a break for a few minutes.

By taking some walk break, you will:

  1. improve your recovery between several runs (especially useful if you run often)
  2. reduce the likelihood of potential injury
  3. increase your ability to get further: your body will then recover during your walk so that you will be ready to run a few more miles

This is something recommended by several professionals, such as Jeff Galloway. But the same principles are also promoted by the Lafay method for core training. This is not a big surprise because the same strategy applies in many domains when you want to develop a new ability. Success is a long-term investment and if try to push too much too quick and you will fail. Just be smart and keep a conservative approach: push when it feels good and take a break when you do not feel so great.

CTOTW #5: if you cannot run, just walk

CTOTW #4: Keep It Simple and (very) Stupid

This is the fourth post of COTW (Coach Tip of the Week). If you want to access previous tips, you can get the full list here.

 

Carb-loading is bullsh!t and is rather a way to stuff your stomach with a ton of bad food what will makes you hit the bathroom stop before crossing the finish line. Fueling your body is not a matter of a meal before race-day but rather adopting good and sound nutrition guidelines. Running a lot of miles does not allow you to eat whatever you want and is rather a good reason to stick to good nutrition strategy that will help you to replenish your batteries and build stronger muscles.

Several folks already discuss this topic (such as Galloway with his book on running nutrition or Karnazes that talks about his nutrition strategy) and the rules are pretty simple. Just need to stick the the KISS (Keep It Simple and Stupid) rules:

  • Seek for efficiency: avoid empty calories and bad fat. Want carbs? do not take candies (sugar without anything else) but whole wheat bread (low Glycemic Index, fibers, vitamins, etc.). want protein? stick to non-fat greek yogurt (yes to the additional pro-biotic) or fish and avoid the fatty beef patties! A better switch guide is available in the “Eat Smart” section of “Eat Move and Love”)
  • Moderation and balance are keys: avoid extremes, do not follow strict rules or guidelines. Do not follow any extreme diet (paleo, vegan, vegetarian). Rather than decrease your weight, it will decrease the size of your wallet and over consume your time and sanity. Also, indulge from time to time, having a beer, a glass of wine <whatever-is-not-part-of-your-daily-diet> should be an exception, not regular. But it is totally fine to make exception from time to time.
  • Plan ahead and stick with whatever works for you: stop wondering what you are going to take for dinner. For your daily routine, try to know what you like, what you can process and makes you feel good. You can also plan ahead and cook ahead of time so that everything is already prepared and you know what is your food intake (in terms of calories, nutrients, etc.)

 

Eating the same dinner every day can be ... well ... boring
Eating the same dinner every day can be … well … boring

In fact, most of people think that having a daily routine seems boring, but at the end, this might be efficient for you: you will not have to think about what you will eat, once you composed healthy meal, you can then focus on something else (family time, work, planning your training, etc.).

Also, many people usually ask when they should eat. The old following proverb still apply:

“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper!”

By taking most of your food intake during the first part of the day, you will ensure you get enough nutrient to fuel your body. In addition, avoiding heavy meals at the end of the day ensures that you do not overload your body with too much food that might then creates discomfort when sleeping. If you are looking for meal examples and other recipes, some are available on the recipes section of “Eat Move and Love”.

CTOTW #4: Keep It Simple and (very) Stupid